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Brunswick social club

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Brunswick Social Club has been set up by people with learning difficulties for people with learning difficulties driven by their frustrations about their limited social life and their wish to build friendships. The project enables people to enjoy a richer social life. It offers support and training and strives for increasing inclusion. People with learning difficulties run their own administration groups and planning of events based at York CVS, supported by staff and volunteers.

Their motto is: Freedom, Friends and Fun

The Social Club builds on Brunswick's belief that we all deserve opportunities to contribute, learn, develop and change and that our relationships are at the heart of how to achieve this. This allows for a creative space shaped by the people coming into contact with the Brunswick Social Club. The drivers are people's passions, hopes and aspirations as well as their frustrations and the injustices we come across.

The Social Club is a structure which provides a necessary stepping-stone to enable people with learning difficulties to access life like everybody else. However, people's wish to participate in dancing, acting and performing has proven hard to achieve in a mainstream context with the resources the Social Club has available. Hence, it decided to set up a community performance group called Chilli BON BON. It is NOT a 'special needs' group engaging with dance but a dance group who happens to have a high proportion of people with learning difficulties because it was hard for them to dance in main stream dance groups.

Chilli BON BON uses sound, music, movement, film, dance, silence, tears and laughter to develop our work. We actively collaborate with other artists, performers and other organisations. Many hours are spent working creatively as a group exploring who we are in the group and who we are in relation to each other. This forms a strong bond within the group and ensures community building on many levels.

Chilli BON BON echo's the assumptions the Social Club is built on:

  • We all have a need to connect with other fellow human being.
  • We all have a need to express ourselves and to be heard.
  • 'Movement' is a necessary quality for change of any sort; experiencing movement on a physical level.
  • Working and expressing ourselves by using our body has profound impact on us as a person on all levels.

All of these points support realising the Brunswick Social Club's motto: Freedom, Friends and Fun

Please find a link to a short film about Chilli BON BON reflecting what the Brunswick Social Club is all about: Click here for Chilli BON BON film

Brunswick's Social Club currently operates on a very small scale and we do not have the funding at the moment to ensure that we can offer the support that every individual might need. We are open to everybody who shares an interest in any of the activities we do. If you are quite independent, or have people in your life who support you with social arrangements, then there are a number of different activities you might want to check out. We are very happy to work with people with learning difficulties and their PA's or other paid staff or families to join in with our events. The social club is very aware that transport is a big issue for many people. We are limited in how much we can help with this due to funding, but we try wherever we can.

The Social Club is based at York CVS, 15 Priory Street, York tel 01904 701869 option 3: Brunswick Social Club

Contact the social club by email at socialclub@brunswickyork.org.uk
Or contact Maja Koch (Brunswick Social Club Coordinator) maja@brunswickyork.org.uk

Here are some of the aims the Brunswick Social Club aspires to:

  • Providing a structure to allow people to be 'community connectors'.
  • Using volunteers to support people where both the person with a learning difficulty AND the volunteer have an interest and commitment to the activity. This changes the nature of the relationship significantly.
  • Offering support to volunteers, which includes challenging their vision of disability and offering a structure for them to become part of the culture of change that the social club is trying to achieve.
  • Supporting people to be involved in activities and then to enable them to begin to increase their level of confidence, skill or understanding.
  • Putting in intensive support to enable an individual or those around them to step over a particular barrier.
  • Learning more general lessons by looking at what the more shared barriers are for people so that a more strategic response can be made.
  • Networking with like-minded people and learning from each other.
  • Setting up social activity based around people's choices of who they would like to spend time with, and doing what they actively want to do.
  • Setting up regular activities for groups who share an interest/passion where it has proven hard, so far, to integrate people with learning disabilities into the mainstream but where we can then invite in interested and enthusiastic volunteer support.
  • Working with local societies and clubs to become more inclusive/ welcoming.
  • Supporting existing opportunities set up for people with learning disabilities: e.g. the 'Special Olympics'.
  • Encouraging and offering support to try new activities with a bias toward joining mainstream clubs/ ordinary activities.
  • Being user led.

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tel: 01904 701869 email:admin@brunswickyork.org.uk
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